If you want to become an extraordinary chess player, you need to memorize a whole lot of possible moves. If you want to become an extraordinary runner, you need to develop exceptional aerobic capacity and learn to move your legs really fast. If you want to be an extraordinary entrepreneur, you need to develop a host of skills from sales to strategy.

These seem like three totally different quests. But according to a handful of experts, that which initially appears unrelated actually share deep, hidden similarities. No matter what domain you're hoping to master, these folks say, if you want to perform at at an extraordinary level, you're going to have to pass through the same essential stages and struggles.

1. Commit.

The first step to becoming extraordinary is both obvious and profound. You have to choose to excel. "Every day, make the choice to be extraordinary at whatever it is you're planning to do. It's a daily decision," instructs tech forecaster and CEO Daniel Burrus in a post on the topic, for instance.

"You have to dream big. Your dreams should be so big that they scare you," agrees traveler and blogger Caz Makepeace. But don't just stare out the window thinking 'I wish...' or 'If only...' Give yourself permission to chase truly audacious goals. 

"You deserve this to be a reality in your life," she stresses. "If you don't stand up for your dreams then no one else will."

2. Take responsibility.

Even if one day you pump your fist in the air one day and declare, 'I deserve to be extraordinary!' you're not going to get very far towards making that a reality unless you also believe you have the capacity to make those dreams come true.

Becoming extraordinary involves developing a true growth mindset and really believing your talents and skills can expand to fit the size of dreams. There are limitations in this world (I will never outrun Usain Bolt, for instance) but there are a lot fewer of them than most people believe. Those who accomplish the extraordinary are the minority who see opportunity where everyone else sees problems (or luck).

"Most people underestimate what they can do--probably even you," claims Burrus. "The fact is that we are all capable of doing so much more than we think."

And yes, circumstances hinder some and help others, often randomly and unfairly. Those who manage to accomplish the extraordinary aren't immune from this reality. They just take responsibility for reaching their goals from whatever starting point they were given.

3. Push yourself (and accept discomfort).

Choosing to dream big and giving up your excuses might be psychologically uncomfortable for some folks, but unfortunately these are only the first of many discomforts you're going to have to accept if you want to become truly extraordinary. Turning intention into reality means constantly pushing your own boundaries, and just like with physical exercise, 'no pain, no gain' applies.

If you're aiming to be extraordinary in any domain outside athletics, you'll probably escape without too many sore muscles, but the constant learning required to attain extraordinary status will regularly leave you with a bruised ego. Failure and criticism are a fact of life when you're pursuing the extraordinary.

How many times do you think Olympic pole vaulters don't make the bar? How many times do world-class figure skaters crash to the ice? Many. So will you. Even seemingly "easy" ways to be extraordinary -- like gossip column notoriety -- involve enduring a lot of discomfort, notes journalist and founder Joe Elvin.

"Take for example those reality TV stars and social media sensations," he writes on Dumb Little Man. "They're not particularly skillful, but they're still willing to put their full personalities in front of the public eye. They don't pretend and they're prepared to promote themselves hard. They're willing to work tirelessly even when criticism rains down on them from all corners."

The bottom line is this: being extraordinary isn't easy. No blog post or expert can take away the difficulties of attaining mastery in your chosen domain. But being extraordinary also isn't mysterious. If you want to achieve great things, you need to go about it the same way that everyone else who has ever scaled great heights has -- with a lot of hard work and tough psychological wrangling.